Homeschooling the Second Grade

Second Grader

You’re ready to homeschool your second grader. Perhaps you’ve been homeschooling since Kindergarten or first grade, or perhaps your child has attended a traditional school and this is your first year. You might be using a curriculum that you’re familiar with and that works for your child, or you might be looking for something new to try.

Many different types of curricula are designed especially for second graders. You can use the complete package from one publisher, or you can pick and choose worktexts from different publishers. You might not use a set curriculum at all, but instead create unit studies and find all your resources at the library. As a general guideline, however, by the end of the year, some of the things your second-grader should be able to do include:

  • Sound out the beginning, middle, and end of one-syllable words
  • Hear the difference between long and short vowel sounds
  • Read common, irregular sight words
  • Recognize common abbreviations
  • Use regular and irregular plurals correctly
  • Read aloud with the fluency of natural speech
  • Answer questions such as who, what, when, where, and how
  • Follow written directions that involve one step
  • Write with legible handwriting
  • Identify complete and incomplete sentences
  • Identify nouns and verbs
  • Use quotation marks correctly
  • Capitalize proper nouns and words at the beginning of sentences
  • Count, read, and write numbers up to 1000
  • Measure objects to the nearest inch or centimeter
  • Tell time to the nearest quarter hour
  • Add and subtract two and three digit numbers

One method of teaching you might want to consider using with your child is the Classical Method, or teaching the Trivium, the three different stages of learning. With this approach, your second-grader would be considered a student in the first stage, or “grammar stage.” During this stage, memorization is emphasized as your child learns basic facts.

Language Arts

Knowing the spelling rules are a must in the grammar stage, and there are many types of spelling curricula to choose from, such as Spelling Workout, A Reason for Spelling, and Spectrum Spelling. Students will also continue learning the grammar rules that were introduced in the first grade. Reading often corresponds with the history lesson, and up to thirty minutes a day may be required. Memorizing a poem every two or three weeks is also encouraged.


In the first grade, copying sentences is a technique used to help children with sentence structure, grammar, and spelling; in the second grade, many students move on to dictation. Parents can begin with short sentences, saying them aloud while the child writes them down. It may take some time at first, as the child is sounding out the letters, but as he improves, you can use longer sentences. Cursive writing may be introduced this year, using workbooks such as the Zane-Bloser Handwriting Program or Handwriting Without Tears.


Because younger children tend to think in more concrete terms, using manipulatives when learning math concepts is recommended. When your child understands the concept completely, you can introduce the math facts for memorization.


In the Classical Method of teaching, history generally follows a four-year cycle: The Ancients (up to 400 A.D.), Medieval-Early Renaissance (from about 400 – 1600 A.D.), Late Renaissance-Early Modern (1600 – 1850 A.D.), and Modern (1850 A.D. to the present). Beginning in the first grade, this cycle is repeated 3 times through grade 12. In the second grade, your child would typically be studying the Medieval Ages. Memorization is encouraged, and you can choose what you want your student to memorize, depending on his interests; you might have him learn all the names of a particular line of rulers, or he might memorize a list of the major discoveries of the period.


Science in the second grade can cover any topics you choose. The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, a common resource for those using the Classical Method of teaching, recommends teaching Earth Science and Astronomy in the second grade. You can find a book to use as your base text, then search your library for more resources on the topics you choose.

Art and Music

The fine arts are also a part of the Classical student’s school day. Art class often includes picture study as well as art projects, while music may consist of learning to play an instrument or listening to classical music.

While the Classical Method of teaching is quite rigorous and involves a lot of work, the goal is to teach the student to enjoy investigation long after their schooling at home has ended. Whatever method you choose, however, remember that you want your child to love learning. You know your second-grader better than anyone, so take the time to find the approach to schooling that fits him best.

Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell

Photo from cambodia4kidsorg

Homeschooling Curriculum by

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